Surfside Beach voted to implement a ban on beach tents Tuesday night--but not before changing the rules one more time.
Along most of the beach, the town will start banning the tents on Jan 1, 2018. But in a last-minute amendment offered Tuesday night, tents will be banned immediately from 8th Avenue South to the southern end of town.
Councilman Tim Courtney, the original author of the tent ban, suggested the extra provision.
“The amount of beach that we have [in that section] is we have practically no beach on a mean high tide,” Courtney said.
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Courtney, Mayor Bob Childs and Councilmen Randle Stevens and Ron Ott voted in favor of the rule. Council members Julie Samples, David Pellegrino and Mark Johnson opposed it.
“That's pretty much one-third of the town," Johnson said of the section where the ban will immediately go into effect.
Courtney and other supporters have said that tents pose a safety hazard, by blocking lifeguards and emergency vehicles. The compromise to wait until 2018 was suggested by Childs as a compromise for some visitors who had planned vacations this year assuming they could use a tent.
Resident Tom Dodge said the ban should be enacted town-wide, immediately.
“How about thinking about the beachgoers and the townspeople, not the Realtors,” he said.
But still others argued unsuccessfully that Surfside should remain the last town on the Grand Strand to allow beach tents. Resident Billy Turner said he’d recently been treated for skin cancer, making reliable shade a necessity.
“I can’t go to the beach without shade,” he said. “[An] umbrella does not provide me with enough shade.”